“Mary Baker Eddy’s Pragmatic Transcendental Feminism”
Simon, Katie. “Mary Baker Eddy’s Pragmatic Transcendental Feminism.” Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 38, no. 4 (2009): 377–98.
Simon unpacks Mary Baker Eddy’s theological construct of what Simon calls the ‘feminine divine’ (the “transcendental feminism” in her title). She then shows how Eddy, in a “radical exegesis” (390) and “resignification” of the two creation stories in the first two chapters of Genesis, “mobilizes her … conception of a benevolent maternal deity” to challenge the gender ideology and conventions of her day (381). Eddy’s vision of God is not exclusively anthropomorphic female or male, therefore allowing women and men to mirror both feminine and masculine qualities. Eddy also embedded her vision of the feminine aspects of the divine in her theology—prioritizing love as a divine attribute—while also accessing the masculine divine qualities as found in her role as leader, founder, theologian, preacher, publisher and intellect. But beyond undoing traditional gender norms, Simon finds in Eddy’s Genesis interpretation her ultimate goal: her feminized divine is an enabling belief that works to undo Adam’s “dream… an entire ‘history of error’ in which the self is assumed to be material” (395). Finally, Simon finds resonance between Eddy and two contemporary feminist theorists: Luce Irigaray who sees the need for a feminine divine in order to provide women an infinite “imaginative horizon” (382); and Judith Butler who identifies gender as culturally constructed.
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Free
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- Publication Date: 2001-2010
- Resource Types: Article
- Resource Types: Web Resources
- Subjects: Bible
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives
- Subjects: Metaphysical
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies
- Subjects: Theology